Washington Joins Academy to Build Entrepreneurial Successes

“Washington is one of 10 states to participate in a national policy academy to help officials build strategies that help entrepreneurs.The National Governors’ Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices chose Washington to join nine other states in the 18-month policy academy. The focus of the academy is to help states develop comprehensive initiatives for entrepreneurs.Entrepreneurship is the key to both rural diversification and the strength of our high-technology sector, said Governor Gary Locke. Independent entrepreneurs play an increasingly important role as a catalyst for economic vitality. In places that cannot expect to attract major business but have a high quality of life, talented business people are an especially crucial asset.Locke said Washington has a unique business climate because entrepreneurship is the driving force behind the high-growth technology, biotechnology, software development and information technology industries. The Corporation for Enterprise Development ranked Washington tops in entrepreneurial energy in 1999, and the Progressive Policy Institute ranked the state fourth in its new economy index.But Washington also has a high rate of new business closings, and its share of jobs in fast-growing companies is relatively low. Not all regions of the state have benefited from the entrepreneurial energy that has led to growth and prosperity.Locke’s policy team is charged with developing a strategy that: – Encourages entrepreneurs to start companies and improve their survival. – Helps promising new companies overcome obstacles to growth. – Promotes entrepreneurship among populations and regions that have not shared equally in the economic benefits of the new economy.NGA said the states chosen to participate clearly defined opportunities and/or problems for nurturing entrepreneurs. States also provided compelling evidence they could provide the staff resources needed to address the challenges.Participating states also demonstrated a high level of business involvement – private sector executives and entrepreneurs who can provide expertise in identifying barriers and devising solutions.”